Jayson Tatum Describes ‘Weird’ Emotion Towards 2022 Finals, Makes ‘Best Player in the NBA’ Claim With Malika Andrews

Sourav Bose

Jayson Tatum recently opened up about his sentiment towards the unforgettable 2022 NBA Finals defeat. During his latest SportsCenter interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews, the Boston Celtics star let his emotions run high while describing the instance as ‘weird’. Amidst the moment of reflection, the 25-year-old provided a glimpse into his growth mindset by proclaiming himself as the leading face of the business.

The scenario circled the host’s close-ended question, “Who do you think is the best player in the NBA right now?”. “Myself,” the 6ft 8″ youngster replied while displaying immense faith in his ability and development. The blend of self-belief and promptness caught Andrews by surprise as she asked the 5x All-Star about the secret to his rising “confidence”.

“I got a lot of respect for a lot of guys in the league. Giannis [Antetokounmpo],  for sure. [Nikola] Jokic, obviously just won. [Joel] Embiid, the guys that won MVPs and the list goes on as the league is in a great place. I truly do believe every night I step on the floor, I’m the best player,” the Missouri-born stated.

The paramount shift in mindset since the defeat in the Finals excited the journalist as she asked for the intricate details. Tatum promptly agreed to the notion as he credited the heartbreaking moment as a major turning point in his career.

“I’m a big believer in everything happens for a reason and maybe I needed to go through that for something. Haven’t figured that out yet but it happened and I have grown from it. I have learned from it. In a weird way, I’m thankful for it. As tough as it was, as much as it hurt, I’m thankful that I went through that and I think that has made me a better person and player,” the 2017 draft pick mentioned.

The episode captured how his complex emotions after the setback dictated his unwavering confidence. A major defeat at a career-defining stage for the first and only time in his 7-year-long NBA journey raised question marks around him. The franchise’s inability to hold on to a 2-1 lead before succumbing to a 2-4 loss resulted in doubts over his ability. Yet, the 2023 All-Star Game MVP has seemingly made peace with the occasion while adopting a positive outlook for the future.

The biggest defeat fueled the competitive edge of Jayson Tatum


The 25-year-old has established his status as an NBA sensation since entering the league in 2017. After making the 2018 All-Rookie First Team, his development underwent a gradual upward curve. The situation suddenly changed following the humiliating 2022 NBA Finals defeat to the Golden State Warriors.

The Celtics forward hence began the previous campaign with a mission in his mind. His rapid exponential growth shocked the league as the youngster averaged career-high digits in points per game (30.1), rebounds per game (8.8), and assists per game (4.6). The endeavors paid dividends as the organization reached the conference finals before falling short due to fine margins.

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Interestingly, this campaign has been an extension of the last one as Tatum currently averages 27.1 points per game, 8.6 rebounds per game, and 4.8 assists per game. Emerging as the face of the franchise, the 6ft 8″ forward has already entered the top 5 rankings of the MVP race. Therefore, his confidence remains justified as the Celtics star has been able to comfortably back it up with numbers.

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About the author

Sourav Bose

Sourav Bose

Sourav, a seasoned NBA journalist at the SportsRush, discovered his profound love for basketball through the brilliance of Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors. With over 600 articles in his career, he has established himself as a dedicated and prolific writer in the field. Influenced by 'The Last Dance' documentary and the anime 'Slam Dunk,' Sourav's passion for basketball is marked by insightful observations and a comprehensive understanding of the sport's history. Beyond his role as a journalist, he delves into the strategic dimensions of sports management and explores literature in his spare time, reflecting a well-rounded approach to his craft. Sourav's journey is characterized by a commitment to unraveling the intricacies of basketball and sports in general, making him a reliable source for NBA enthusiasts and a seasoned observer of the sports landscape.

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